You’re running a startup. When should you invest in brand strategy?
Put another way, when do you need to grow? When do you need to acquire new customers, build your culture and recruit the right people?
For a startup whose primary job is growth, brand strategy can be a critical tool. So the answer to the question about when you need brand strategy is: Not at the very beginning, but probably earlier than you think.
We recently branded a stealth-mode software startup whose CEO is a highly successful serial entrepreneur. He has worked with Emotive Brand several times. This time, he brought us in earlier than ever, because he has seen how brand strategy can power growth.
When his startup leaves stealth mode and launches into growth mode, as it is poised to do, it will be powered by the right customer insights, the right value proposition and the right messaging to succeed.
Too Early v. Too Late
That doesn’t mean you need brand strategy on Day One. Startups are right to get their products built and tested before worrying about anything else. If you don’t have a viable product, you have nothing to grow a brand or a company on. So early on, tunnel vision is good.
The next stage, the growth stage, is where brand strategy can have meaningful impact. Brand strategy can power your growth strategy by identifying who your best customers are and clarifying what you do better than anyone else to address the pain points they face every day.
Brand strategy defines your company’s unique brand experience, the voice with which you will speak to the marketplace and the messaging that will get you leads with the right people.
If your brand isn’t clear, your growth strategy will have a tough time defining both long-term goals and the short-term tactics for getting there.
Avoid Stalling Growth Before It Starts
We worked with a startup client a couple of years ago in exactly this position. The company had a great team and top-notch venture backing. It enjoyed a successful run with its initial friends-and-family customer set – but when the time came to implement its growth strategy, it hit a wall.
The company was trying to build its business with a tech-heavy product story rather than directly addressing the challenges it solved for its customers. Its venture firm sent the startup to us.
Three months after engaging Emotive Brand, the startup was ready to relaunch with a fresh story – and quickly started hitting its goals. The same startup has engaged us on a number of projects since, to keep its story relevant amid shifts in its competitive landscape.
As your startup prepares for growth mode, your team will be growing too. Brand strategy that clarifies who you are and what you believe can help internally as well as externally, helping you recruit the right people and build a strong internal culture.
Whether your startup is poised to grow internally, externally or both, brand strategy can make your growth strategy smarter, clearer and more successful.
Emotive Brand is a brand strategy firm working with high-growth B2B companies.